Since last month, reports that the Election Commission of India is planning to organise a hackathon, where experts would be allowed to prove that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be tampered with, have been doing the rounds. On April 12, PTI quoted EC officials as saying, “From first week of May, experts, scientists, technocrats can come for a week or 10 days and try to hack the machines. It has been around a month since then and it is expected that the poll panel would soon organise the hackathon to put an end to all allegations of EVM tampering.
On May 12, EC called an All-Party Meeting to discuss the EVM tampering issue and also invite parties in challenge to prove that machines used in recent polls were rigged.
What is EVM Hackathon?
The EVM Hackathon would give an opportunity to experts to examine the EVMs and check whether the allegations of EVM tampering is correct.
AAP leader Manish Sisodia, who participated in the meet, tweeted that EC has rejected his party’s proposal to organise a hackathon. The EC would only throw a challenge asking political parties to prove that machines used in past elections were tampered with, he claimed
EC ने हैकाथन कराने से मना किया। कहा-हम सिर्फ यह साबित करने का चैलेंज देंगे कि पिछले चुनाव की मशीनों में टेम्परिंग हुई थी। ‘आप’ के सुझाव – pic.twitter.com/dYPyvCNCJA
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) May 12, 2017
On this Sunday or Monday, the EC would allow parties to show if they can hack EVMs.
Who can participate?
Representatives of national and regional parties would get an opportunity to prove that poll machines were hacked.
Why EVM Tampering challenge?
Since the conclusion of 5-state Assembly elections in March, several political parties have blamed EVM hacking for their defeat. On May 9, the Aam Aadmi Party organised a demonstration on EVM hacking inside the Delhi Legislative Assembly.
Participating in a discussion on the issue during the day-long special session of the Delhi Assembly, AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj dramatically claimed a voting machine can be manipulated by simply feeding it with a “secret code”. Using what his party claimed was a “prototype EVM” developed by “a group of IITians”, Bhardwaj, himself an engineer, showed how it could be tampered with to favour a particular candidate.
The EC, however, said in press release: “It is common sense that gadgets other than ECI EVMs can be programmed to perform in a pre-determined way, but it simply cannot be implied that ECI EVMs will behave in the same manner because the ECI EVMs are Technically Secured and function under an elaborate Administrative and Security Protocol.
“Such so-called demonstration on extraneous and duplicate gadgets which are not owned by the ECI cannot be exploited to influence our Intelligent Citizens & Electorate to assail or vilify the EVMs used by the Commission in its electoral process,” it added.
(With agency inputs)